Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Religion and spirituality are not topics that are usually discussed frequently among college students. “iPod Spirituality- Spirituality in the Post-Modern World,” was the latest topic of discussion Monday evening at an open-table discussion held in Schmidt Hall. The analogy of an iPod was used to discuss how many people view their particular religion. The idea of this is that everyone has the ability to pick and choose what aspects of the religion that they are going to follow. People have the choice to pick beliefs from other religions and make it part of their own spiritual journey.

Spiritually in the post-modern world allows this type of choice. Before the invention of the iPod and CDs, people used a cassette Walkman to listen to their favorite songs. They did not have a choice of what songs were to be played. Once the cassette was in, people were forced to listen to the entire tape. Fast-forwarding and rewinding were difficult, but people were still limited to that tape. Religion is like this as well. People often do not have the choice to pick and chose what they wanted to believe.

The idea of “iPod Spirituality” was what sparked the conversation for the evening. An example of this would be combining aspects of the Baptist and Catholic religion and making it your own.

With that in mind, the idea of taking the aspects of the religion that are the easiest to understand and holding true to them may be the easy way of going about things, but it may not be what God wants. The argument was brought up that if one believes in a particular religion, he or she should believe in it whole-heartedly and not just in some instances.

The group discussed where the ideas of faith first came from. Many of them agreed that it was their parents that first presented religion to them. One student recalled her parents waking her up and taking her to church every Sunday. When she questioned this, the only answer that her parents had was to thank God that you are alive. The group decided that it is crucial for parents to begin the difficult task of explaining their religion to children at a very young age.

Often, when one grows up in a faith community, they tend to look at faith through a narrow lens. This lens doesn’t allow one to see what other options are available. When parents force religion on their children they are not choosing for themselves. It is often not until later in life when a person deconstructs their idea of faith and under goes personal examination to see what they truly believe.

The discussion concluded with conversation about the holy books. Holy books like the Bible, Koran and the Torah should be used as a guidebook rather than a rulebook. All of these books can be interpreted differently and there is not one right or wrong answer. One student commented that if you combine love, faith and your holy book, God will tell you and show you exactly what you want to hear.

Facilitator Tony Sundermeier of Westminster Presbyterian church said, “It was so nice to have a space like this where honest, thoughtful, in-depth conversation can be held on such personal issues. It was a great event and I feel that we all benefited by attending this evening.”

“iPod Spirituality” was the latest session of Real Conversations, a series that is hosted by residences halls each month to discuss serious issues that are not typically discussed among college students. Real Conversations is a program where students can come and express their thoughts on a issue with other students. At the start of each session, ground rules are established to create security and confidentiality. Each participant must agree on all of the ground rules before the discussion takes place.

For more information on the Real Conversation program series please contact a Residence Hall Direction or any Resident Assistant.

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